Facebook hires PR company to smear Google

Social network reportedly admits to whisper campaign

The gloves are off as the war between the two online giants intensifies....

A news site in America has reported that Facebook has admitted to hiring a PR company to highlight negative stories about rival Google.

The Daily Beast said the social networking site had hired PR specialists Burson-Marsteller to dig up negative stories about the search giant and highlight them to US media outlets.

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The news comes after the PR company approached respected security blogger Christopher Soghoian, urging him to investigate Google’s privacy policy in exchange for getting him published on influential sites such as The Huffington Post and The Washington Post.

The blogger was even reportedly offered assistance in writing the article, with Burson-Marsteller telling him “The American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloguing and broadcasting every minute of every day—without their permission.”

Soghoian refused, and posted the emails online highlighting the smear campaign. USA Today then published a piece accusing the PR firm of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google for an unknown client.

It appears that this client is no longer unknown, with The Daily Beast purporting to have evidence that Facebook was behind the smears: “Confronted with evidence, a Facebook spokesman last night [yesterday] confirmed that Facebook hired Burson, citing two reasons: First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.

The rivalry between the two online giants is no secret, with Facebook continuing to expand and chip away at Google's advertising revenue. The search giant however is fighting back, and is rumoured to be working on a new kind of social network, Google Circles, which could replace the relatively unsuccessful Google Buzz. Expect more handbags at dawn as the rivalry heats up.

Do you think the social network has crossed the line in its quest to beat Google? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

Via: Telegraph